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Coffee at St Dreux Cafe
Photograph: Cassandra Hannagan

The best coffee in the Sydney CBD

The search is over, city dwellers and peak-time commuters. We've got your daily grind right here...

By Jordan Kretchmer and Matty Hirsch
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There is a lot of bad coffee in this town. Thankfully, there’s a hell of a lot of good stuff, too. In fact, there’s some bloody brilliant coffee in the CBD, just waiting for you to come on in and order up. When you're in need of a caffeine fix in the city, one of these ace coffee houses will see you right. Here's our guide to the best coffee in the Sydney CBD, from Circular Quay up to Wynyard, to Town Hall, Barangaroo and everywhere in between.

Not in the CBD? Here's where to find the best Sydney coffee elsewhere, plus consult our guides to Sydney's best coffee experiencescycling cafés and Bondi cafés for more inspiration.

 

The best coffee in the Sydney CBD

Eggs and coffee at Skittle Lane
Photograph: Anna Kucera

1. Skittle Lane

Restaurants Cafés Sydney

The space is beautiful but Skittle Lane is about more than Instagram-worthy interiors – these guys are manning two large steely silver La Marzocco coffee machines that pump out rich, gentle and very well made espressi. CBD workers know this too so there's a small line snaking out into the adjacent lobby.
Snack attack: A soft boiled egg on toast with parmesan and truffle oil
Open on weekends? No
Wi-Fi? No

CabritoCoffee-06.jpg
Anna Kucera

2. Cabrito Coffee Traders

Restaurants Circular Quay

They're roasting their own beans right there in Circular Quay, as well as at their outpost in Roseberry. The Milk Man house blend is super smooth and rich and you can take your own bag home for just $12.50.
Snack attack: Luxe Bakery muffins or a panini
Open on weekends? Yes
Wi-Fi? Yes

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Takeaway coffee at Single O
Photograph: Mitch Lui

3. Single O

Restaurants Sydney

The little CBD sister of the Surry Hills roaster has been doing ripper coffees since opening just north of Town Hall in early 2015. Service is ultra friendly and never snobby, you can buy your own beans and the takeaway brekkys are ace.
Snack attack: The NLT (next level toasties) include a classic Croque Monsieur
Open on weekends? No
Wi-Fi? No

4. Industry Beans

Restaurants Cafés Sydney

This good news is nothing got lost in transit when the first Sydney outlet of the celebrated Melbourne café opened up on York Street in early 2019. The food is good here, but the coffee's even better – regardless of whether you take it hot or cold, espresso-based or batch-brewed, quality is never in doubt. Have a study of the seriously detailed coffee menu, and you'll know you're in the right place.
Snack attack: The omelette is a smart pick
Open on weekends? Yes
Wi-Fi? Yes

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5. Marlowe's Way

Restaurants Sydney

A flashy font above the kitchen says 'Serving soul since 2012'. They’ve certainly been tapping out some of the city's best coffees over the last five years. This café-by-day and bar-by-night is also peddling two kinds of black gold: they also sell funk and soul records.
Snack attack: Young Henry's braised beef brisket panini
Open on weekends? No
Wi-Fi? No

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Photograph: Anna Kucera

6. Gumption

Restaurants Sydney

This Strand Arcade coffee haunt is rarely without a queue, and for a good reason – the coffee is excellent. It's also all you'll find in the eggshell blue shop, along with plenty of gifts for coffee nerds.
Snack attack: No snacks, sorry
Open on weekends? Yes
Wi-Fi? The Strand Arcade has its own Wi-Fi

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7. Mecca Espresso CBD

Restaurants Sydney

Mecca has been importing and roasting some of the best coffee in Sydney since 2005. It should come as no surprise, then, that these guys and girls also know their way around an espresso machine, too. There's not a whole lot of space at this King Street bolthole, but you're here for coffee, and a very good coffee you will get.
Snack attack: There's a short, sharp menu if you're peckish, but the Alexandria outpost is where you go to eat
Open on weekends? No
Wi-Fi? No

8. St Dreux

Restaurants Cafés Sydney

Owners Raf Bartkowski and Ernest Igual ruled the roast at Campos, and now they’ve opened their own operation, which showcases not only some flashy gizmos and gadgets, but also their range of expertly blended beans. Win win.
Snack attack: Mushroom and cheese croissant
Open on weekends? No
Wi-Fi? Yes

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Barista at Kingswood
Photograph: Anna Kucera

9. Kingswood Coffee

Restaurants Sydney

This welcoming coffee window in World Square is a little faux vintage, but when you are standing in a wind tunnel at the base of an enormous skyscraper some wood panelling, shiny brass and mottled mirror panels adds a heartening, lived-in look. You can’t drink in, but you can drink nearby.
Snack attack: The three-cheese toastie
Open on weekends? Yes
Wi-Fi? No

10. Workshop Espresso

Restaurants Sydney

Before George Street became a jungle of construction, Workshop was one of the busiest coffee shops in the city. While the queues here no longer reach ridiculous lengths, they still do a decent coffee. They're using their own Workshop blend from Toby's Estate, which is a little softer and sweeter.
Snack attack: Muffins
Open on weekends? Yes
Wi-Fi? No

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Regiment
Photograph: Anna Kucera

11. Regiment CBD

Restaurants Cafés Sydney

Five Senses beans become skilfully pulled espresso shots on two shiny, white Synesso machines – the chocolatey, roasty Dark Horse Blend for your flattie, a rich, fruity, acid-forward Colombia Popayan Cincuenta for your doppio, and single-origin Ethiopia Ardi for filter orders. White coffees are balanced – no excessive milkiness – and black coffees are smooth with a nice bite to finish.
Snack attack: Their condiment game is impressive – typical toast-toppers like avo and Vegemite share menu space with wattle macadamia peanut butter, eucalyptus honey, dukkah, tequila-jalapeño relish and bisque mayo – this is not a house of pallid paninis 
Open on weekends? No
Wi-Fi? No

Flat white at Dutch Smuggler
Photograph: Anna Kucera

12. Dutch Smuggler

Restaurants Cafés Sydney

Dutch Smuggler’s owners also run Sovereign Coffee Roasters, so specialty coffee is a big deal here. The café showcases its seasonal blend, weekly single origins and a striking range of cold brews: the “Cold Fashioned” with tonic water and orange peel, the citrus and basil “Lemonade Stand”, and the “Roots In Coffee”, which brings out the spiciness of home-made ginger beer. 
Snack attack: Get the mi goreng toastie, a genius collision of two great late-night snacks
Open on weekends? No
Wi-Fi? No

 

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13. The Cross Eatery

Restaurants Sydney

If you prefer your latte on the punchier side, make tracks to the Cross. They are using Mecca beans, resulting in a cuppa that's robust in flavour and a fraction smaller than your regular takeaway latte.
Snack attack: Brickfields breakfast rolls
Open on weekends? No
Wi-Fi? No

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Photograph: Paul Jeffers

14. Romolo

Restaurants Italian Sydney

These guys do a roaring breakfast trade and tap out some fine coffees too. They're using Gyspy Espresso beans and the baristas give you the smile you need on an early Monday morning.
Snack attack: Chocolate roasted granola with coconut yoghurt and cocoa nibs
Open on weekends? Yes
Wi-Fi? The Strand Arcade has its own Wi-Fi

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15. Central Roasters

Restaurants Cafés Sydney

Hidden in a laneway that runs alongside the Metro Theatre, Central Roasters is one of those cafes that you're unlikely to stumble upon by accident so it's worth seeking out. They roast their own beans here (on our visit it's a rich Colombian and Indonesian blend) and regulars will love the prepaid coffee card systems which will get you a free cuppa for every seven you drink.
Snack attack: Scrambled egg wrap – only $9.50 with a regular coffee
Open on weekends? No
Wi-Fi? No

16. The Precinct

Restaurants Cafés Barangaroo

Right at the foot of the Barangaroo towers, the Precinct is the 'hip' café sibling to Toby's Estate. Slick interiors and fast-paced service is the name of the game. They do soy and almond milk for no extra cost; they use their own beans (the Woolloomooloo blend on our visit); and four working baristas means you get in-and-out fast.
Snack attack: The generously topped avo on toast
Open on weekends? No
Wi-Fi? Yes

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17. Pablo and Rusty's

Restaurants Sydney

This place is a well-oiled machine – even with a queue almost out the door we're still served with a smile and walk away with our coffee in minutes. Said coffee is serious black gold, and uses the P&R house blend.
Snack attack: Get a toastie – golden brown and extra cheesey
Open on weekends? Yes
Wi-Fi? No

A close up shot of a coffee with latte art on a wooden table at
Photograph: Graham Denholm

18. Bel and Brio

Restaurants Cafés Barangaroo

Not content with being just a café, this one-stop-shop also has a bar, a dining offshoot, a wine shop and marketplace. But back to the coffee: they are doing a brew that is a little creamier than your usual. Service is friendly and fast and they get their beans from Will and Co.
Snack attack: Acai bowl with shaved coconut and yogurt
Open on weekends? Yes
Wi-Fi? Yes

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A close up shot of a cup of coffee with latte art at Hammer and
Photograph: Graham Denholm

19. Benchmark Espresso

Restaurants Cafés Sydney

Just opposite the QVB is this inconspicuous café. It's nothing fancy, but their beans are from Double Roasters, which means their coffee is big on flavour. Bonus: it's one of the cheaper coffees in the city (that doesn't taste like it) at $3.30 for a regular.
Snack attack: The bacon and egg roll is just $7.50 and has loads of bacon and two eggs
Open on weekends? No
Wi-Fi? No

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